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Re-Introducing My New Travel Planning App – PlanMoreTrips

Welcome Back To Frequent Flyer University

It has been a while since I last posted but a few of you may remember 6 years ago way back in 2014, I built a travel planning app called Tripsy.

At the time, I was frustrated at how difficult the travel planning process was because, like many of you, I was the primary person in my family planning our trips. It was a constant struggle of trying to find award availability and then easily sharing those potential flight options with my family.

That major pain point gave me the idea to “scratch my own itch” and build a comprehensive travel planning app called Tripsy that would streamline the travel planning process by creating an easy way to save and organize potential flight and hotel options.

Tripsy App – Version 1.0

My partner and I built the app and Tripsy launched to great fanfare in April 2014 at Frequent Traveler University in Seattle.

"FTU Launchpoint"

“FTU Launchpoint 2014”

Once Tripsy was launched, we made some great initial traction getting over 2,500 users on our pre-launch waiting list, pitched at TechCrunch, and developed a corporate travel partnership with Concur (owners of TripIt). However, in the end, we ran out of money and had to shut down.

After Tripsy’s failure, I took a break and went backpacking in Southeast Asia for 3 months and during that trip I quickly realized that most travel backpacking gear is terribly made and not designed for long-term travel. It gave me the inspiration to develop travel gear specifically designed for backpackers and TravelMore was born. We did a Kickstarter and it developed into a nice little business that has done over $15,000,000 in sales.

During that time I put Tripsy aside and fully expected in the last 6 years that someone would make an app that makes travel planning easier.

To my surprise, no one did…

So even today in 2020, travel planning is exactly the same as it was in 2014.

People are still planning trips with shared Google spreadsheets, email, text messages, and now Slack channels.

Why Is Travel Planning So Difficult?

It doesn’t matter if you are planning a short weekend getaway to New York or an extended 3-month tour of Asia. The entire process of planning a trip is terrible…

When travel agents existed, you simply told them where you wanted to go and they would go search and come back with a couple of itinerary options to pick from based on your dates and price.

In 2014 2020, thanks to sites like Google Flights, Booking.com, Airbnb, etc we have all become our own travel agents!

Now instead of a couple of pre-set itineraries that a travel agent gives you, there are literally thousands of travel sites that you need to manually search and then construct your own custom itinerary.

While it is great there are so many travel search engines, once you go onto Expedia, Airbnb, Travelocity, Kayak, etc and find something you like, there is no easy way to save and share what you have just found with the other people who will be traveling with you.

If you find 3 flights on Google Flights, an apartment on Airbnb, a hotel room on Booking.com, and a car on Hotwire, there literally is no easy way to share all those options with your spouse or travel partner.

My short-term solution to this problem has always been to create a shared Google Doc and then invite everyone going on the trip to join it. Then when I would find flights and hotels, I would take a screenshot and copy-paste it in so everything was in one central place for everyone to see.

"Google Spreadsheet For Flights"

“Google Spreadsheet For Flights”

I have literally been doing this same terrible process for the last 10 years and this past summer while planning a trip, I finally had enough and decided at a minimum I was going to build Tripsy 2.0 for myself to at least make my travel planning life easier.

After building a very basic Tripsy 2.0, I shared it with a few frequent flyer friends. They liked it so much and found it so useful that they convinced me to develop it a little more and release it to the public.

As part of the version 2.0 launch, I am rebranding Tripsy as PlanMoreTrips.

I think the new name is pretty self-explanatory ; )

Meet PlanMoreTrips

PlanMoreTrips is the easiest way to plan a trip.

PlanMoreTrips solves the 3 major problems travelers face when planning a trip:

  1. SAVING — PlanMoreTrips allows you to save ANY flight or hotel option directly from the travel site you found it on. No more copy-pasting into spreadsheets!
  2. ORGANIZING-Anything you save gets uploaded to a centralized PlanMoreTrips itinerary where it is organized and searchable.
  3. SHARING— You can share your PlanMoreTrips itinerary with anyone going on the trip so they can easily view and comment on all the potential options you found. Here is a real-time PlanMoreTrips itinerary for an upcoming Spring Break trip.

How PlanMoreTrips Works

I tried to make PlanMoreTrips as easy as humanly possible.

All you have to do is install the free PlanMoreTrips Chrome Extension and then it automatically loads on over 1,000+ travel sites and literally does everything for you.

Get The Free PlanMoreTrips Extension

PlanMoreTrips Chrome Store

The PlanMoreTrips extension automatically works with over 1,000+ travel sites including:

Once the PlanMoreTrips extension is installed, you can go onto any travel website like Google Flights, Airbnb, United, Kayak, Southwest, etc and PlanMoreTrips will automatically load and allow you to save any flight and hotel options you see in 1 click.

PlanMoreTrips Demo

PlanMoreTrips automatically captures all the flight times, airports, prices, dates, etc in 1 click so no more copy-pasting!

Since a frequent flyer built it, you can rest assure that you can even save mileage options.

Whatever travel options you save, they are automatically uploaded to a central PlanMoreTrips itinerary.

You can see a real-time PlanMoreTrips itinerary here.

Everything is organized and easily accessible. In the future, the prices will update in real-time and alert you if they change.

Flights Saved To PlanMoreTrips

 

PlanMoreTrips also allows you to save lodging directly from sites like Airbnb.

Save Directly From Airbnb.com

All Potential Lodging Options In 1 Place

Once you have found all your potential flight and hotel options, you can now easily share your potential itinerary with your travel partners with a link. You can see a real-time PlanMoreTrips itinerary here.

Easily Share Your Itinerary In 1 Click

Your travel partners can view all the options you found and they can even leave comments on their preference. In the future, they will be able to also add to the itinerary with options they found.

When you are ready to book, you can just click on the link and it takes you back to the original site to finalize your purchase.

No more shared Google Spreadsheets, long email chains, lost text messages, or poorly formated flight data.

Everything for your trip is now centralized and shareable.

I haven’t done any promotion of the app yet and already random people have found it and have told me that they have saved 75% of the time they normally spent travel planning.

Final Words

If you had told me 6 years ago that I would still be working on Tripsy / PlanMoreTrips, I would have thought you are crazy.

Thankfully those 6 years have given me a whole new perspective on how to build and market this app, so hopefully this second time around, Tripsy / PlanMoreTrips will take flight and help many of us travelers save time and energy planning our next trip.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading FFU since 2012 and has supported me on Tripsy, TravelMore, and now PlanMoreTrips. I literally couldn’t have done it without you!

Please give PlanMoreTrips a try and let me know what you think. This is still version 1 so there may be bugs or things that I forgot to add, so let me know if something isn’t working.

Also if there are any additional features you would like to see, please let me know and I will try to add them.

-Parag

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Introducing The Jetpack 20L – Pre-Order On Kickstarter + TravelMore Giveaway

What I’ve Been Doing For The Last Year

As many of you have probably noticed in the last year or so, FFU hasn’t been very active!

While I wish I had more time to blog on here because I have a ton of great content and travel tips in my head, all my time has been occupied running TravelMore!

If any of you regular readers remember, last year on April, 14, 2015, I wrote a post on FFU launching my new travel gear company TravelMore.co.

The goal of TravelMore was (and still is) to encourage and inspire people to travel more.

If you ask most people what they really want to do in life, 99% of people will give some variation of the answer that “they want to travel more”, so the goal of the company is to convince as many people as possible to go from wanting to travel more to actually doing it!

TravelMore started off with a few products but over the last 12 months, we have slowly started expanding and started creating our own line of TravelMore products.

I’m happy to say now, TravelMore has a full line of travel products and we sell in 22 countries around the world!

Needless to say, the last 12 months have been a wild ride. If you follow me on Instagram, you also know I have fully embraced the “digital nomad” lifestyle and now spend time traveling around the world trying to avoid the cold Chicago winters.

Much of my time in the last year has also been spent developing and refining a new TravelMore product that launched on Kickstarter last week.

We had a modest goal to raise $7,500 but broke that in about 36 hours with no publicity and unexpectedly became the fastest funded daypack in Kickstarter history.

Introducing The TravelMore Jetpack 20L – The Perfect Daypack

AdamSpin

In the miles & points community, only a couple of us cover the lowly world of backpacking, staying in hostels, and flying economy class to maximize miles. Therefore no one really talks about travel gear or anything like that unless it starts with Tumi or Rimowa.

I know there are some young people interested in backpacking gear, so as I wrote about last year, I’ve been using the Standard Luggage 40L Carry On Backpack on my backpacking adventures around the world. Even after 20 countries & 30,000+ miles, it has held up extremely well and is great because I can carry all my stuff in it but have no issues carrying it on the plane.

While there are good large travel backpacks like Standard Luggage, one thing I noticed is that there aren’t really any good travel daypacks and most lack basic functionality like being able to hold a water bottle, being water resistant, having enough pockets, or having a laptop sleeve for digital nomads.

In the end it was such a hassle trying to find an acceptable daypack, that I decided maybe TravelMore should try and build the perfect daypack from scratch.

For the design of the Jetpack 20L, we actually started by interviewing hundreds of backpackers / travelers around the world to understand what features they actually needed in a daypack.

Early Jetpack 20L Sketches

Early Jetpack 20L Sketches

After we had a pretty good list of features that travelers actually needed, I had the “pleasure” of going to China for 1 month to try and turn the Jetpack vision into reality.

Once the prototypes were created, we had multiple international backpackers spend over 8 months testing the Jetpack 20L on the road.

The Jetpacks were severely abused and tested traveling over 50,000 miles across Australia, China, Thailand, Nepal, India, United States, Iceland, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Finally after 8 months of extensive R&D and testing, we finally arrived at a final product that we can confidently say is the perfect daypack.

What Makes The Jetpack 20L Different?


 

The full list of features can be found on the Kickstarter but here are the highlights:

  • Built For Travelers, By Travelers – Unlike traditional daypacks, the Jetpack 20L was actually designed by people who travel for a living. Every single feature of the Jetpack 20L has been purposefully designed thanks to the input of hundreds of travelers who were interviewed before the bag was designed.

 

  • 3 Awesome Colors – To combat boring daypacks, we created 3 colors for the Jetpack including blue, black, and purple.

Best_Womans_Daypack

best_womens_daypack_for_travel

 

  • 100% Collapsible – When not being used, the Jetpack 20L packs down into itself for easy transport. When collapsed, the Jetpack 20L measures just 8 x 6 x 2 inches and weighs only 12 oz.

Best_Packable_Daypack

Best_Collapsible_Daypack

 

  • Designed For 2016 – Almost everyone travels with a laptop, tablet, or kindle these days, so the Jetpack 20L has a dedicated electronics sleeve that can hold electronic devices up to 15 inches.

daypack_backpack_with_Laptop_sleeve

 

  • Secure & Water Resistant – The Jetpack 20L is designed with ultra strong ripstop nylon that is water resistant. In addition, the Jetpack 20L also has built in YKK zippers that can be locked.

theftproof_backpack_daypack

 

  • Lots of Pockets – This seems like a no brainer but you would be amazed by how many daypacks only have 1 or 2 pockets. The Jetpack 20L has at 6 separate pockets to hold all your stuff.

Daypack_with_Lots_of_pockets

 

  • 365 Year Warranty – All TravelMore products come with the world’s first 365 year warranty. Yes, you read that right, 365 years. We 1000% stand behind our products, so if they break for any reason, customers can exchange them for a new one, no questions asked!

Thank You For Your Support Over The Years + TravelMore Giveaway!

Writing a blog on the internet can be a weird thing because you know there are people reading this but you rarely get to meet readers in real life or interact with them offline.

With FFU, TravelMore, and all the other crazy travel projects I have worked on over the years, I have been extremely fortunate to have been supported by all the awesome people who started reading this blog way back in 2012.

None of these projects would have gotten anywhere if it wasn’t for the amazing FFU community of readers who have supported me over the years, so I just want to say thanks!

To show my appreciation, I am giving away a full TravelMore swag package including basically everything we make.

Total value of this package is over $200.

Winner will get 1 of everything below plus of course a TravelMore Jetpack 20L.

best_tsa_Locks

Reviews_Of_Packing_Cubes

best_travel_towel

To enter the contest, just leave a comment saying where you would take your Jetpack (or where you are traveling to next). Please be sure you leave your real email, so I can contact you. I will pick a winner next week.

-Parag